Pharmaceutical Access

Children’s hospitals obtain pharmaceuticals in various ways, including the federal 340B Drug Discount Program and group purchasing organizations, all of which rely on a consistent and safe pharmaceutical supply chain.

Children’s hospitals depend on specialized medicines  that can be difficult to obtain on a regular basis. When the pharmaceutical supply chain is disrupted, the difficulty is only exacerbated. Increasing the affordability and accessibility of pharmaceuticals that are tested and labeled appropriately for children helps children’s hospitals continue to provide the very highest quality of care to patients.

340B Drug Discount Program
The federal 340B Drug Discount Program provides access to a discounted price on outpatient prescription drugs to certain safety-net health care providers, including children’s hospitals. Some of the children’s hospitals participating in the program have been able to use savings from the 340B Drug Discount Program to expand services and provide medications to patients at a reduced rate.

The BPCA and Pediatric Research Equity Act (PREA) are two essential laws that improve pharmaceutical access for children. The laws work together to both encourage and require the study of drugs in children and have been successful in increasing the number of drugs appropriately-labeled with pediatric information. While there has been significant success, more progress is needed, and these programs must be reauthorized and strengthened.

Drug Shortages 
Children’s hospitals are facing a growing patient safety threat of pharmaceutical supply chain disruptions that have led to critical national drug shortages. Drug shortages threaten patient safety, drive up the cost of care and delay research. These shortages have disproportionately impacted the pediatric community because pediatric care frequently requires the use of injectable, as opposed to oral, medications. According to the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics report from November 2011, over 80 percent of drugs in shortage are injectables and over 50 percent of all injectable drugs are in shortage.


 Please contact Liz Parry, Associate Director, Policy Analysis, at (202) 753-5392 or Jenny Rudisill, Assistant Director, Federal Affairs, at (202) 753-5340.

Fact Sheets & Analyses
340B Drug Pricing Program (Association Fact Sheet) - June 17, 2014 Restricted

Letters & Testimony
Association Joins Allied Health Organizations in a Letter Regarding the Disposal of Controlled Substances - October 6, 2014

Franken and Roberts Senate Sign On Letter to FDA on Pediatric Drug Shortages - May 6, 2013

Klobuchar Casey Shortages Letter - May 3, 2013

Regulatory Resources
Issues for Consideration Related to Forthcoming Comprehensive 340B Regulations (Coalition Letter) - April 1, 2014 Restricted